Widespread Panic Family Mourns Loss of Patriarch

Jake Lewis
Music Editor
SMU Daily Campus

Last Saturday, the music world lost a brother. Michael “Panic” Houser, lead guitarist for Athens, Ga. based Widespread Panic died from pancreatic cancer.

The band’s Web site urged fans to celebrate Houser’s life, rather than mourn his loss. He confirmed his condition last month, two weeks after his last gig with Widespread, on July 2 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, according to Billboard Magazine.

Rumors of Houser’s condition were rampant over recent months, with “what if’s” on the lips of audience members at every tour stop.

Many people thought that the two-night extravaganza at the Bonnaroo Music Festival would be Houser’s last performance, but he kept on for the next few shows.

He sat on the stage and played music until the very end ? embracing his passion as long as he could. Houser was the backbone and founding member of Widespread Panic.

He could always be seen in his seat on the stage ? it’s more comfortable than standing ? pickin’ his guitar fiercely, his long hair blowing in the breeze.

That’s the way he would want to be remembered, playing his part in creating beautiful music for his fans.

Houser was heavily involved with the Athens Academy, a place that allows children to discover the beauty of music.

His wife Barbette and their son Waker have set up the Michael Houser Music Fund to benefit music education programs within the academy.

Memorial contributions may be sent to: The Michael Houser Music Fund, Athens Academy, PO Box 6548, Athens, GA 30604.

He is survived by his wife, his son and thousands of spreadheads across the country.